Argentinian Exchange Program


Phenomenal, amazing, thrilling. Only a few words are good enough to describe my experience with Máximo, the Argentinian exchange student staying with me, and Juan, the exchange student staying with Thomas Leahy ’21. Máximo, an entertaining kid in general, has told me countless stories about life in Argentina and about his family, building up my desire to depart for Argentina. I’m glad to say the Class of 2021 has been very welcoming and social with both exchange students. If I see them during a break or lunch, they are always smiling or laughing while talking to one of the kids in our Form. Due to the structure of the Argentinian school year, Juan and Máximo are able to stay at Cistercian for a month and learn more about how our school functions. During the summer, I will get the amazing opportunity to travel to Argentina and learn more about Argentinian culture while going to school there. I’ve learned that instead of taking six to eight subjects as we do in America, Argentinian students are able to take fourteen subjects! One of these includes Psychology, which is something I hope is introduced at Cistercian as an elective. Since they are spending their summer break at school to practice their English, Juan and Máximo do not have to take any of the tests and quizzes that the rest of us have had to suffer through. While it makes sense, this has drawn the playful ire of many of our classmates who have had to pull all-nighters to study for a particularly challenging History test over WWI.

Despite our jokes at their exemption from taking our tests and quizzes, the Class of 2021 has been very welcoming towards our exchange students. Due to the already large size of our class, we have had to take our Teacher’s Desk out and replace it with an ordinary student’s desk. However, their presence in our classrooms still makes all of the changes worth it. Just last Wednesday, all of Form VI side B came together and sang Juan “Happy Birthday” as he sat there and laughed. Even though they have only been at Cistercian for about two and a half weeks, Juan and Máximo have already been immersed in the “culture” of Cistercian and of our class. When talking to them, you feel that they have been part of the Cistercian Class of 2021 since middle school, even if they only arrived a couple of weeks ago. High school gives the students many opportunities to bond with each other, whether it’s over shared interests, suffering, or through inside jokes about class and each other. 

In addition, I have been able to introduce Máximo to life in Coppell and what it is like living in an American household by going on bike rides and doing errands like getting the groceries. Over the weekends, we have been able to hang out with Thomas and Juan–the other “exchange pair”–to play video games. Due to our shared interest in games like Fortnite or Apex Legends, we have been able to form a closer bond with each other. We’ve also been able to unite on the field of war while playing paintball at a classmate’s birthday party.  During the Activities periods, Juan and Máximo go to the gym to play basketball or to the tennis courts.  In their short time here, they have taken advantage of the many opportunities Cistercian and American life offer, and  have truly become part of the class.

Soon, I will be able to go to Argentina to stay at Máximo’s house and Thomas will be able to go and stay over at Juan’s. This has been a truly awesome experience and I’m really excited to go to our sister school, El Colegio San Esteban, and learn more about the culture and language in South America.